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FiSH!: Keep Your Culture Swimming in a Positive Direction

by Jenny Madison | April 4th, 2019

If you’re a cj client or friend of the agency, you’ve most likely heard someone talk about our FiSH! team. Whether you’ve seen our social media posts about FiSH-sponsored events or you’ve visited our office and witnessed grown people dress in camel suits while handing out beer and wine, the FiSH seed has been planted (whether you realize it or not). But some of you who are just getting to know cj, might be asking, “What the hell is a FiSH! team? Where did it begin? And why do these people dress like camels if they’re on a team called…FiSH!?”

These are all good questions, and I’m glad to be the one to explain. Since having the opportunity to co-lead FiSH! with Communications Manager, Renee Brank, I’ve been able to help other members of the cj family start their own FiSH! team. I’m not saying that all the cool kids are doing it… But all the cool kids are doing it!

The GIST of FiSH!

In a nutshell, FiSH! is a culture team whose mission it is to boost agency morale and make work fun. All members of the team are volunteers who have a desire to make the days of their fellow team members. Each year, new people get the opportunity to join the team, and many remain on the team for years once enrolled.

The FiSH! team meets a couple of times a month to plan events like: Valentine’s Day breakfast, agency-wide Mother’s Day gifts, baseball games, beer and snack carts, and other social activities. It’s all about the fellowship.


Also, during our meetings, we discuss something called, “Make Their Days (MTDs).”  This is where team members, whether on the FiSH! team or not, nominate other team members to have their day made. Nominations are discussed during FiSH! meetings, where the team brainstorms and executes the MTD by providing a personalized gift to anyone who may need a morale boost or is just doing a great job and deserves a pat on the back.

The goal of FiSH! is to encourage everyone to notice the morale of those around us and to seize the opportunity to make a difference. In the cj family, you can count on there being plenty of nominations because of the agency’s culture of gratitude.

FiSH! For All!

However, FiSH! is not unique to cj Advertising. This team is inspired by a workplace philosophy created by John Christensen. The philosophy is modeled after the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle that’s famous for its fun atmosphere and customer service.  (And that’s where the funny name comes from!) The philosophy focuses on four main principles:

  1. Make Their Day – Be passionate about serving.
  2. Be there – Be fully present for each other every day.
  3. Play – Approach work with energy and enthusiasm.
  4. Choose Your Attitude – Choose your response to life and work.

Hop in! The Water is Fine.

FiSH! is a state of mind that our team fosters each day with acts of kindness and respect. To everyone reading, we hope that our culture inspires you all!

If you have any questions about FiSH! or even how to start your own team (or something like it), please feel free to reach out to me (Jenny Madison) or Co-lead (Renee Brank) for more information. We’d be happy to help! In the meantime, take a look at this fun video we produced about the FiSH! team!